While there’s some useful information in this, it doesn’t really justify the steep cover price.
The book combines some factual details for would-be wrestling visitors to Japan with a personal recollection as an introduction, some interviews with people who’ve seen wrestling in Japan, and brief overview histories of the major Japanese promotions. The opening account of being at a show at Korakuen Hall is extremely atmospheric and more along these lines would have been interesting to read. Unfortunately the interviews and histories don’t really add much and feel a little like padding.
The meat of the book is listings and details for venues and facilities. The most useful section lists a wide range of wrestling stores plus bars and restaurants that either have a wrestling theme or are owned or staffed by wrestlers, along with a map of the Tokyo Dome area. Another highlight is two sections of useful Japanese phrases, one relating to buying tickets and choosing seats and the other covering train travel. There’s also a section on Osaka that may be useful to those travelling further afield.
Other listings and information sections aren’t as useful. The guide to buying tickets doesn’t give any real specifics that can’t be found with a quick Google search, while sections of getting a passport or using credit cards abroad feel too generic for such a title. I was also disappointed to find that although Korakeun Hall and Ryogoku Sumo Hall are both covered, there’s no detail on other popular Tokyo venues such as Shinjuku Face and Shin-Kiba 1st Ring.
The real problem is that although some of the content here would have made for exceptionally useful website articles or blog posts, it doesn’t really stretch to a full-length book with a $20 print price tag or $10 Kindle version to match.
(This review was originally written and published several months before I visited to Japan and wrote my own book, Purodyssey.)